08/15/14

A Suspect Matching the Description

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

Unless you’ve been living in a closet this past week or landed from a distant planet then you’d be ignorant to news stories of racial tensions and rioting over an unarmed young Black person, Mike Brown, being shot and killed by a White police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.  Major news networks were quick to pour gasoline on the event, something they are very good at, spreading racial tension to the breaking point across the nation; protests, vandalism and looting broke out as angry mobs of Blacks did their best to prove that the Rule of Law only applies to other segments of our society.

This morning we learned that there apparently (*apparently used instead of allegedly) is more to the story, much more than had previously been released.

Turns out Mike Brown, the young unarmed Black youth who died at the hands of a White Supremacist cop just looking for someone to kill, was apparently (*) a prime suspect in a ‘strong arm robbery’.  Mike Brown was listed by name in the original report along with a physical description which matched what he was wearing when a confrontation with police happened within half a mile of the robbery.

It is not my purpose to continue the practice of ‘Trial by Media’, something the main stream media lives for.  Letting the courts determine the outcome is so, what’s the term…old school.  So much of the original energy that causes folks to break things, set fires and generally act with mob mentality is lost by the time facts are brought into the discussion.  It’s much easier to work the leftist agenda of transforming America when there’s a ‘Crisis’, isn’t that part of the rules for radicals?

No, today I wanted to share something which happened back in the mid 70s when I was a young police officer working in Houston.  My partner and I were assigned to work the 3rd Ward, a mostly Black community just outside of downtown.  A robbery occurred and the original unit responded and arrived in remarkable time, putting out a description over the radio of a young Black male suspect wearing a green football type jersey.  The suspect had not used a weapon but had roughed up the owner of a small convenience store owned by a Korean family while taking all the cash in the register and putting it in a brown paper sack.  The suspect fled on foot in a northerly direction.

Well slap my knee; we just happened to observe a young Black male wearing a green football jersey running down the street in that general area and he had a brown paper sack clutched in his hand.  We approached with caution and placed him under arrest, cuffing him and placing him in the back of the patrol car.  The sack contained some crumpled up bills, probably the fruits of the crime, as we headed back to the store to get a positive identification on our suspect.

Here’s where it got a bit odd; the Korean store owner wouldn’t identify the suspect in our patrol car as being the one who had just robbed him.  All of the sudden the green football jersey wasn’t the same and the suspect didn’t have the same dark colored skin.  In short, the Korean store owner didn’t have the courage to finish what had been started and wanted to avoid retaliation.

My partner and I wrote down the suspects name for our report and let him go, handing him the brown paper sack full of money we’d taken away from him.  The Korean store manager asked for the sack of money; but since this wasn’t the fellow who’d robbed him we had no reason to deprive the ‘rightful owner’ of his property.  Creative or sloppy police work; your call…

What has this to do with the mess up in Ferguson?   I’ll leave that to someone who is much smarter; but it has something to do with a double standard in race relations that has been foisted on our society for as long as I can remember.

Instead of holding individuals accountable for their actions we have permitted a goodly portion of one race to hide behind the color of their skin, their Black hyphenated America.  We could place the blame on their parents, school teachers, ministers or a host of others to include government with all the entitlement programs intended to bring about Social Justice; but in the end the blame has to be laid at the feet of the individual.

If we operate under the delusion there are no consequences for our actions interesting things happen.

Take for instance being stopped by a police officer for a minor traffic violation; if you have the mindset that nothing you do will affect the outcome of this fairly common social interaction you’d be sorely mistaken.  My partner and I used to get a kick out of  pulling over the proverbial ‘pretty young thing’ who drove under the impression her looks made her exempt from traffic laws like stopping at red lights and stop signs.

Upon walking up to the car she’d offer a smile as if it were the same as a driver’s license.  When we’d start writing the ticket she’d remind us, “You can’t write me a ticket”, which sometimes was followed by our pen and ticket book being flung at us.  When asked to step out of the vehicle we anticipated, “You can’t arrest me”, which generally led to, “You can’t put handcuffs on me”…and you wouldn’t believe the language we heard from the back seat on our way downtown.

Now, if you would, insert the Race Card and see how much more complicated that situation gets.  I’m so grateful to have retired and no longer subjected to that kind of crap.

But that doesn’t help race relations which have steadily eroded in certain sectors of our society.  The solution is really very simple, not easy, just simple.  Teach your children to respect others, to be good citizens and follow the law.  Avoid the appearance of doing wrong, dress properly and with dignity in order to present the best view of yourself when in public.

There would be a negative way of saying the same thing.   Don’t go around with your pants hanging down below your butt and stop hanging around gang-bangers or you’ll end up in prison or in an early grave.  Don’t back talk your parents or anyone older than you and for heaven’s sake, when a police officer addresses you have the good sense to be on your best behavior so don’t act a fool or do anything to provoke a confrontation.

I’ve ramble on a bit and those needing to hear this, well, it won’t do any good.   The ‘suspects matching the description’ offered here are too far gone; but I’ve been mistaken before, let’s hope I am this time.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

08/15/14

An Ugly Mess

Arlene from Israel

No matter what happens with regard to Hamas, it will be a mess of one sort or another.  There are no clean, neat diplomatic solutions. There is either war now, with all the pain and cost that is necessarily concomitant, or there is the possibility (only the possibility) of a temporary diplomatic resolution that has the seeds of war embedded within it and that, while providing a respite, will inevitably backfire.

~~~~~~~~~~

Where are we, as I write?

The 72 hours of indirect, Egyptian-mediated negotiations in Cairo between Israel and “Palestinian factions” – which ended midnight Wednesday night – led to no resolution of the differences between Israel and Hamas.  We shouldn’t have expected there would be such a resolution, as each side has demands diametrically opposed to the other: Israel is seeking demilitarization of Hamas and Hamas is seeking an end to the blockade of Gaza (in place to prevent importation of further weaponry).

I am reluctant to relay reports of what is said to have gone on, because a good deal of it is undocumented and unreliable: most, if not all, of what we ostensibly learned regarding terms being discussed came from the Palestinian Arab faction (remember, Abbas’s Fatah faction is right in there, negotiating with and on behalf of Hamas).  And they have a strong propensity to exaggerate their achievements in such matters.

Did Israel agree to allow Gazan fisherman to go farther into the Mediterranean?  Or to permit the quantity of goods – either humanitarian or commercial – going into Gaza from Israel to be substantially increased?  Did we concur that Fatah forces might police the border?  Could it possibly be that Israeli negotiators agreed to facilitate the movement of money from the PA in Ramallah into Gaza so that Hamas salaries could be paid???

It’s difficult to state what Israel agreed to tentatively, in the course of negotiations – or even agreed to just put on the table for discussion.

Several times, while those reports were coming out, anonymous Israeli officials were cited as saying that no progress was being made.  Apparently (and, again, there is no confirmation on this) Hamas is refusing to release the remains of two soldiers it is holding – Lt. Hadar Goldin and Sgt. Oron Shaul; this would represent a real stumbling block to any deal Israel might be considering.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/184003#.U-zhP5vlrIU

~~~~~~~~~~

Several factors in particular must be mentioned with regard to these negotiations:

First, it is clear that, whatever Israel did or did not agree to, the Palestinian Authority – Abbas’s Fatah faction thereof – is being widely promoted as the “solution” to the problem of Gaza, just as we knew would be the case.  We must continue to declare loudly that reliance on Abbas would be a disaster – both because he’s in bed with Hamas and would not “guard” the situation with regard to preventing it from rearming, and because Fatah forces are weak and liable to be taken down by Hamas.

And then, it seems to be the case (is it??) that Israel has dropped the demand for the full demilitarization of Hamas, focusing instead mainly on ways to prevent its rearming.  Preventing more sophisticated weapons from being brought in to Gaza is, needless to say, an important and necessary thing to do. But it is not sufficient in and of itself.  Hamas still has some 3,000 rockets in its arsenal.

What is additionally the case is that Hamas currently has the capacity to build more of its own rockets, and is continuing to do so.

See here: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4558720,00.html

~~~~~~~~~~

Reports, some leaked, that did come out citing Israeli sources yesterday seemed quite troubling.  We learned that a Security Cabinet meeting that was supposed to have been held had been cancelled because there was “no progress” and nothing to discuss or vote on.  But what happened instead of a full Security Cabinet meeting was a series of private meetings that Prime Minister Netanyahu had with various key members of that Cabinet (primarily but not exclusively heads of factions) – notably Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu), Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid), Economics Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home), Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (Hatnua), and Communications Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud).  Some sources described these meetings as a way for Netanyahu to alert these people to what to anticipate.

Other sources described what happened as an attempt by Netanyahu to “soften up” the Cabinet members in order to get them to vote for some controversial concessions. Something they might or might not agree to:

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/183984#.U-y-KJvlrIU

Additionally there were complaints from some Cabinet members that they were being kept in the dark:

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4558420,00.html

Uh Oh.  What doesn’t he want them to know?  What might he be promoting?

~~~~~~~~~~

For the record, I do not believe Netanyahu WANTS to give Hamas anything.  He is clear-eyed as to the nature of this adversary.  But I am concerned, very simply, that he lacks the nerves of steel required right now to buck the considerable pressure being brought to bear on Israel from a host of international sources.  Binyamin Netanyahu has demonstrated himself to be someone who worries a good deal about the international community and functions while watching over his shoulder.

In fairness to him, I acknowledge very readily that the pressure has to be absolutely incredible. (I am not sleeping well at night and right now I wonder how he can sleep at all.)  There is reason to believe that he might be considering a host of unpalatable factors – the rising world-wide hostility to Israel because of the deaths of babies in Gaza, the up-coming UNHRC “inquiry” – dubbed Goldstone 2 – into whether we committed “war crimes” in Gaza (which I’ll address another day), the malevolence of Obama (about which more below).  It might seem to him that not taking on Hamas right now would be prudent because of all of the other issues that we confront.

~~~~~~~~~~

But there is a solid case to be made for dealing with Hamas without making concessions – with all that this likely implies.  Period.

Two days ago, the “military wing” of Hamas, al-Qassam Brigades, released this statement:

The warriors in Gaza are waiting with Allah’s help to renew the fighting, or to return to planning the next campaign. There’s no escape. Either jihad or planning [for the next jihad].”

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/183978#.U-zLGZvlrIV

Now, we know that this is how the jihadis operate.  It’s hardly a surprise. But for them to be so “in our faces” about it?  We should allow them to buy time to plan a better attack on Israel?
~~~~~~~~~~

The hours leading up to the midnight termination of the temporary ceasefire last night were tense.  Egypt – the mediating party – was pushing for an extension to the temporary ceasefire because more time was needed.  But, while apparently Israel agreed at some point, Hamas was defiant – with Khaled Mashaal, head of the politburo, the most intransigent – and it seemed that this was not going to happen.

So certain did Hamas seem to be that there would be no extension, and that “negotiations” had failed, that rockets were launched from Gaza into several communities in the south of Israel a full two hours before the official end of the ceasefire.  (Something that Hamas later denied having done.)

The situation suddenly seemed clear: Enough fooling around in those negotiations; once again Hamas failed to even honor its full commitment to cease firing for 72 hours.  The Israeli negotiating team had returned home. Time to get serious.  Additional reservists had been called up and our troops were moved up to the border of Gaza.  Yair Lapid made a statement about how, if we must attack again because they start launching rockets again, “this time we’ll hit much harder.”

So be it then…

~~~~~~~~~~

Just to interject a small personal note here.  I was relieved – because the prospect of making concessions to Hamas felt terribly wrong: one does not negotiate this way with terrorists.  But I was hardly upbeat.  I had more of a pained, it’s the right way to go and we’ll have to deal with this with resolve, attitude. I spoke to my visiting grandchildren about where we would would go if there were a siren; having lived through this multiple times already in their own home, they were cool.  But I felt an incredible sadness, that the absolute evil of Hamas was making all of this necessary.

~~~~~~~~~~

Even as Hamas started launching those rockets, however, news began to trickle out from Cairo about an agreement from both sides to extend the temporary ceasefire so that more effort might be expended in reaching a permanent agreement.  And indeed, by midnight, the new ceasefire was announced: fire would be held for five days, but it was my understanding that there would be a two-day hiatus before talks began again, which would mean another 72 hours of negotiations.

What turned the trick, apparently, was direct intervention by Barack Obama, who let it be known that he wanted either a final agreement or, at the least, a temporary extension.  Reports are that a call he placed to Netanyahu to convey this was exceedingly tense, as have been most of their recent exchanges.

~~~~~~~~~~

This is what I am seeing:

According to a Wall Street Journal article, which cited government sources, “the US administration has halted a shipment of Hellfire aerial anti-armor missiles to Israel.

“The sources noted that Israel had requested the transfer of ammunitions directly from the Pentagon, without receiving the approval of the White House or State Department officials.

“’We were blindsided,’ one US diplomat said, while a US defense official insisted that ‘there was no intent to blindside anyone. The process for this transfer was followed precisely along the lines that it should have.’

“According to the sources, White House officials were concerned about Israel’s use of artillery, instead of precision-guided munitions in the more densely populated areas in the Gaza Strip…

“After the shipment of the 120-mm and 40-mm rounds caught the White House by surprise, the Pentagon was instructed to put another arms shipment to Israel – a large number of Hellfire missiles – on halt and the administration instructed all of its defense agencies to consult with the White House and State Department before approving any additional arms requests from Israel, the Journal reported.

A US official told the paper that ‘the decision to scrutinize future transfers at the highest levels amounted to the United States saying “The buck stops here. Wait a second… It’s not OK anymore.”'”  (All emphasis added)

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4558615,00.html

~~~~~~~~~~

Michael Oren, who served a term as Israeli ambassador to the US that ended last fall, has weighed in on this:

“There is a claim in the Wall Street Journal that Israel went around the back of the United States to get a resupply of ammunition from the Pentagon, that it didn’t get permission from the White House. I can only tell you as an ambassador that is impossible because there’s a very specific and deeply embedded procedure for doing that and Israel, in order to get access to preposition military equipment in this country, American equipment, has to go through the administration.”

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4558760,00.html

Oren says the WSJ story is unsubstantiated.  But if a US “source” deliberately leaked this faulty information on orders?  If this provides Obama with a fabricated public rationale for holding back on Israel?

~~~~~~~~~~

When did this story appear? Wednesday?  When did Obama place his call to Netanyahu insisting that the ceasefire had to be extended?  Wednesday.

Here I move into speculation – but speculation informed by a sequence of events that gives it considerable plausibility.

Perhaps Netanyahu was not thinking about “Goldstone 2” or anti-Israel riots in various places.  Maybe his concern – a very real and enormously serious one one – was that the US, by withholding military equipment, would make it difficult for Israel to sustain a full war against Hamas.  Perhaps this is what he sought to communicate privately to key members of the Cabinet.  Perhaps his nerves were sufficiently steel-like in this situation, but he calculated that it might be better to forestall that final confrontation with Hamas until Obama was out of office. (Which might mean making nauseating compromises in the interim.)

Perhaps…

~~~~~~~~~~

Obama’s position on the record in this situation was clearly established some while ago:  First he has no desire to see Hamas brought down.  And then, he is eager to see that “two state solution” advanced via placement of Abbas in Gaza.  What better way to promote these interests than by weakening Israel’s hand?

If there is truth to my speculation, then it is my very fervent hope that Netanyahu will not sit still for this.  Oren’s commentary seems the first return volley, but a great deal more would need to follow.  Often threats are not spoken about. But, for a number of reasons, whatever threat may have transpired here would need to be addressed as boldly and perhaps publicly as possible.  We have many friends in the US.

~~~~~~~~~~

And there is one last piece to my speculation.  Obama would have had to do something to get Hamas to agree to a ceasefire extension.  It is quite clear that there was not unanimity within Hamas on this score.  The president has a very distorted and distinctive MO in his dealings with other countries: he fails to be supportive of those who are traditional US allies, and he overtly courts and makes concessions to radical regimes such as Iran that embrace values inimical to American interests.

My guess would be (and Kerry played this very game with Abbas during recent negotiations) that Obama either exaggerated to Hamas what Israel is ready to concede or promised Hamas that he would do everything in his power to get Israel to… whatever (perhaps release prisoners)…to provide Hamas with that much needed sense of victory.

We might then, look for increased pressure on Israel to…whatever…

~~~~~~~~~~

All this said, there is no reason to expect that, when the next 72 hours of negotiations is over, a long-term ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas will necessarily have been achieved.  It still remains quite unlikely, I think, concessions or not.  If (or when) those Hamas rockets start flying again, there will still be some very tough decisions that will have to be made here in Israel.

08/15/14

Support Israel, Support Life! Sunday Union Sq. NYC

On Sunday, August 17, from 3:45 to 7PM, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and freedom activist Assaf Shilony & Team will be hosting a rally in New York City’s Union Square. Speakers from a huge variety of backgrounds will stand for Israel and all the minority populations worldwide that are threatened by the global jihad.

Speakers will include AFDI President Pamela Geller; AFDI Vice President and Jihad Watch director Robert Spencer; New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind; Israeli scholar Mordechai Kedar; Sudanese freedom activist Simon Deng; Ashraf Ramelah, the head of Voice of the Copts; Arish Sahani, Senior Vice President of the Indian American Intellectuals Forum; and a host of other representing the populations around the world that face the greatest threat today from Islamic jihad violence and supremacism. Also invited are Indian, Yazidi, Kurdish, Sikh, Assyrian and Buddhist leaders. A variety of well-known singing groups will also provide entertainment.

AFDI’s Geller said in a statement: “Israel is on the front lines of the global jihad, and we stand resolutely and proudly with her. We must also remember that the same jihad that threatens Israel threatens free people around the world. That’s why we are featuring speakers from groups from around the world – people who have experienced the horror of Islamic jihad firsthand. We need to unite and stand together for freedom.”

The rally will be held in New York City’s Union Square from 3:45 to 7PM. Confirm your attendance at this once-in-a-lifetime event, and invite others to attend, on Facebook here.

Geller advised demonstrators to come to the event with signs showing support for Israel and minorities subjected to genocide, violence and oppression by Islamic jihadists. She added: “We are going to stand together for freedom every step of the way, and never give in to the forces of darkness, lies and intimidation.”

AFDI stands for:

• The freedom of speech – as opposed to Islamic prohibitions of “blasphemy” and “slander,” which are used effectively to quash honest discussion of jihad and Islamic supremacism;

• The freedom of conscience – as opposed to the Islamic death penalty for apostasy;

• The equality of rights of all people before the law – as opposed to Sharia’s institutionalized discrimination against women and non-Muslims.

For more information, contact Pamela Geller at [email protected]m

08/15/14

MSM Once Again Furthers The Big Lie

By: Lloyd Marcus

Mary and I were driving home to Florida from working on the Joe Carr campaign in Tennessee when I heard the report on the radio. “Unarmed black youth shot by police.”

Why did the reporter think it relevant to mention the race of the youth shot by police in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri? Police shooting an unarmed youth is compelling without the racial component.

When blacks commit crimes, the mainstream media bends over backwards to avoid mentioning the criminals’ race. For example. When flash mobs were breaking out across America committing crimes of violence, looting and vandalism, the MSM refused to report that the perpetrators were black youths. The MSM’s excuse is reporting the race of criminals is unnecessarily provocative.

So why does the MSM not apply the same logic and caution in cases where the alleged attacker is white? Remember how quick and eager the MSM was to convict George Zimmerman in the court of public opinion?

To push its racist-white-man-shoots-unarmed-angelic-black-boy story line, the MSM referred to Zimmerman as a “white Hispanic”. They flooded TV with photographs of a much younger Trayvon Martin including one of him in his little league football uniform. The MSM did everything in its power to hide the truth that Martin was a 17 year old thug. A major broadcast network even doctored audio to portray Zimmerman as a racist.

Obviously, the MSM wanted racial turmoil, division and riots in the streets. The Left’s bible, “Rules for Radials” by Saul Alinsky says they win by creating chaos.

The mainstream media is fully committed to helping Obama implement his socialist/progressive agenda. Promoting the false narrative that America is a racist nation is extremely helpful to Obama’s purpose.

The MSM has been complicit in assisting the Democrats’ efforts to exploit Obama’s race to silence opposition to his unprecedented dictatorship.

The MSM jumps on every opportunity to further the big lie that blacks are victims of an eternally racist America. The big lie feeds white guilt, making them more receptive to the government redistributing wealth and pandering to minorities. The big lie also inspires blacks to hate successful whites, inspires violence against whites and creates an entitlement mindset in blacks.

Whites feeling guilty for being white and blacks feeling resentful and entitled equals more Americans submissive to government controls and likely to vote Democrat.

During the Trayvon Martin trial, Leftists were all over TV promoting the big lie that black males are routinely attacked and murdered by whites in America. Their claim is totally absurd. The facts prove quite the opposite. Statistics confirm that blacks kill blacks and black attacks against whites are 39 times more likely than vice versa. http://exm.nr/1vClwx5

Please note that this article is not about the shooting. I am merely pointing out the mainstream media’s agenda driven reporting of the incident.

Once again, the MSM has successfully ginned up racial hate, division and riots in the streets.

Lloyd Marcus, Unhyphenated American

Chairman, Conservative Campaign Committee

08/15/14

The Council Has Spoken!! This Weeks’ Watcher’s Council Results – 08/15/14

The Watcher’s Council

Me too, lil’ weasel!

The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match-up.

“The gun is our only response to [the] Zionist regime. In time we have come to understand that we can obtain our goals only through fighting and armed resistance and no compromise should be made with the enemy.” – Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, speech on February 12, 2012

“The Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher’s knife. They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs… It would have aroused the world and the people of Germany… As it is they succumbed anyway in their millions.”

Louis Fisher, Gandhi’s biographer asked him: “You mean that the Jews should have committed collective suicide?”

Gandhi responded, “Yes, that would have been heroism.” – The Life of Mahatma Gandhi (1950) by Louis Fisher.

“The true cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict is the hatred taught to many Muslims when they are impressionable children — unable to defend themselves from having their lives poisoned with such beliefs.”

“This is the testimony of someone who witnessed it — and who experienced it — personally.” – Dr. Tawfik Hamid, Muslim Apostate in a speech at Pepperdine University, 2008

Close races in both categories this week, a reflection of how good this week’s entries were.

This week’s winner, Bookworm Room’s fine essay The Morality Of of Israel’s killing Palestinian civilians, recounts a Facebook exchange she had with a ‘Progressive’ about civilian deaths in Gaza versus Israel defending itself or committing national suicide. Being Bookworm, she goes far beyond that into a general discussion of Jihad, but you’ll have to read all of it to marvel at how she ties it all together. Here’s a slice:

I have been engaged in a Facebook exchange with someone who believes that killing civilians is always immoral. This moral stance means that, because Israel is killing civilians more effectively than Hamas, he believes Israel is morally more culpable than Hamas in the current conflict. He therefore cannot support her, and his sympathy for Palestinians outweighs his sympathy for Israelis.

Because his is an argument I hear frequently; because Progressives think their overarching pacifism is virtuous; because this man was invariably polite in expressing his views, appearing more misguided than malevolent; and because there were other people auditing this exchange on Facebook, I took the time to respond at some length his arguments. Although doing so seemed like a somewhat futile effort while the ceasefire held, given that Hamas took up arms again the minute the ceasefire ended, this issue is not going away any time soon.

The man’s core operating principle is that killing civilians is so verboten that he can never approve of a group, party, or nation that commits such acts. I know he felt virtuous when he wrote that, but I tried to get him to see that, in certain circumstances, his pacifism will leave him with more innocent blood on his own hands (morally, speaking) than his own ostensibly high-minded position would.

I asked him to imagine that a large, well-organized, well-funded terrorist group (which we’ll call “Hamas” for short) carries out a series of attacks against a Jewish nation (which, for convenience’s sake, we’ll call “Israel”). The attacks are not as deadly as Hamas would wish, but Hamas plans to continue with the attacks — eventually someone will die — with the culmination being a coordinated attack through Israel which will, if successful, kill upwards of 10,000 Israeli civilians. This man’s moral calculus would mean that the only way for Israel, as a moral nation, to avoid the impermissible immorality of killing innocent civilians in Hamas’s ambit would be for Israel to surrender immediately and, indeed, for it to do so regardless of the seriousness of Hamas’s provocation.

In a perfect world, against an equally moral enemy, this moral purity might work. Of course, in that perfect world, the enemy too would have held itself to this high moral standard — never kill a civilian — and wouldn’t have attacked Israel in the first place. Sadly, though, we do not live in a perfect world.

In an imperfect world, which happens to be the world we inhabit, Israel knows that Hamas’s goal is to slaughter every man, woman, and child in Israel. Israel doesn’t have to go down the primrose path of conspiracy theories and paranoia to reach this conclusion about Hamas’s end game. Instead, Hamas has made the death of Israel’s citizens — all of them — the centerpiece of its charter, it preaches this goal from every political and religious pulpit, it acts upon this goal whenever possible, and it has spent millions of dollars in foreign aid, including money from Israel herself, to plan a terrorist attack intended to kill those 10,000 of Jewish civilians.

Despite this stark reality, the man I’m debating insists that Israel still has only one moral choice: she must refrain from fighting back if that fight means that she might kill even one civilian. Only in that way, he says, can he give Israel his support.

Israel, however, has figured out something that this man, either because he’s blinded by the self-righteousness of his own idealism or because he’s as genocidal as Hamas, refuses to grasp: If Israel takes this allegedly moral high ground and surrenders to Hamas, she will effectively have killed all off all of her own civilians. In other words, no matter what choices Israel makes, the nature of her enemy means that Israel will have the blood of innocents on her hands.

As between those two choices — either kill a few hundred Palestinians civilians or watch 6 million of your own people being brutally slaughtered — a non-suicidal nation will always opt to value its own citizens’ lives first. Moreover, a moral nation, such as Israel, even as it recognizes that civilian deaths are inevitable, fundamentally values life and does everything possible to protect both its own and its enemy’s citizens. Still, Israel recognizes that the nature of war, sadly, is death.

Much more at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Mark Steyn with a piece that resonates with what’s on many minds this week, You Want Nazis? submitted by The Noisy Room.

We are indeed living in interesting times.

Here are this week’s full results.

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! Don’t forget to tune in on Monday AM for this weeks’ Watcher’s Forum, as the Council and their invited guests take apart one of the provocative issues of the day and weigh in… don’t you dare miss it. And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that!

08/15/14

Castro’s Spy, the CIA, John Kerry and AP

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

Special Report from the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism

With wars raging in the Middle East, and Russia still threatening Ukraine, the problem of anti-Americanism in Latin America has been put on the back burner. But since Secretary of State John Kerry declared last year that the Monroe Doctrine was dead, Vladimir Putin of Russia has traveled to Brazil, Argentina, Nicaragua and Cuba. This doesn’t seem like an accident. The Obama administration is inviting aggression against the U.S.

During the Cold War, Cuba hosted Soviet nuclear missiles targeting the U.S., and the Castro regime sponsored terrorism on American soil carried out by such groups as the Weather Underground and the Puerto Rican FALN. Cuba continues to protect anti-American terrorists on the island such as Joanne Chesimard, a cop-killer who fled the U.S. with the help of the Weather Underground.

None of this bothers Putin, of course. And Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu is talking about establishing new military bases in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. Russia’s clout in the region has dramatically increased, while American influence has declined. Again, this doesn’t seem like an accident.

The Monroe Doctrine was supposed to protect U.S. national security interests in the Western hemisphere by prohibiting foreign meddling in America’s backyard. Putin seems to share Kerry’s belief that this national security doctrine is dead.

President Obama made sure that the CIA was taken out of the business of destabilizing anti-American regimes in the hemisphere. Now, limited democracy-promotion programs in Cuba, financed by the U.S. and mandated by Congress, are coming in for strong criticism from the Associated Press (AP) news organization.

The media campaign has all the earmarks of a political influence operation whose ultimate goal is to get the U.S. out of the “regime change” business, even when the regime being changed is a dictatorship that oppresses its people and poses a military threat to the U.S.

The context is important: President Obama has been cordial to Cuban dictator Raul Castro, greeting him warmly at the Nelson Mandela memorial service in South Africa. It is clear that his heart (and much of his “progressive” base) is with the idea of normalizing relations with the Cuban regime.

But Congress has had other ideas. It is not so enamored with the communist dictatorship, and mandated that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) establish programs to give Cubans a chance to enjoy such things as freedom of the press and access to information, so that they can understand and appreciate the rights that have been denied them. Now, all of these programs are in jeopardy.

Interestingly, a key source for the controversial AP stories—which portray the USAID programs as sinister—is former top CIA analyst and John Kerry aide, Fulton Armstrong.

The AP allegations against U.S. efforts to foster democracy in Cuba have played into Castro’s hands, and may have been designed that way all along. They became front-page news in Granma, the organ of the Communist Party of Cuba, which cited the “American press” as saying that the USAID had been caught engaging in “subversive actions in Cuba.” The charge is typical communist propaganda.

Unfortunately, media coverage benefiting Castro is not new. “In revealing U.S. operations in Cuba and presenting the communist Cuban regime as a victim of U.S. intrusion,” says analyst Toby Westerman, “the AP is following the pro-Communist, anti-freedom example of Herbert Matthews, The New York Times correspondent who gave invaluable publicity to Castro and his guerrillas in the early days of his revolution.”

He adds, “The AP misinforms its readers. The AP does a disservice to those who are risking their lives to resist Communist oppression in Cuba, and it completely ignores the Cuban regime’s espionage offensive against the United States as well as against the Cuban people. As such the AP gives a distorted picture of what the United States is attempting to do in Cuba, and why.”

The Cuban Spy

One reason that Armstrong now finds himself under attack for his role in the AP stories is his own controversial link to one of Castro’s spies, Ana Montes, now serving a 25-year sentence for espionage in a U.S. prison. However, Armstrong told AIM that he rejects the “slanderous” attacks on his own character and defends his involvement in the AP stories.

In attacking Armstrong’s role in the AP stories, the Capitol Hill Cubans blog says that during his time at the CIA, “Armstrong authored, together with his former colleague at the Defense Intelligence Agency, Ana Belen Montes,” a report that argued that “Cuba no longer posed a security threat to the United States.” It was “prepared by the Defense Intelligence Agency in coordination with the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of State Bureau of Intelligence and Research, the National Security Agency, and the United States Southern Command Joint Intelligence Center…”

The 1997 report was the subject of a New York Times story headlined, “A Pentagon Report Now Belittles the Menace Posed by Cuba.”

Montes spied for Cuba for 16 years and pled guilty in 2002.

Armstrong told AIM, “If by ‘colleague’ you mean someone in the same interagency group focused on Cuba as she, then I was among the several dozen people from a wide range of agencies [who] were her ‘colleagues.’”

He said he never “co-authored” a report with Montes and that “She drafted the famous Cuba threat paper during the period that I was Deputy National Intelligence Officer—and one of my responsibilities was to shepherd it through interagency coordination. The draft was very weak and was heavily rewritten by representatives of all 15 agencies at the table.  All 15 agencies endorsed the rewritten paper without reservation.”

Armstrong served as the CIA’s National Intelligence Officer for Latin America, a position that earned him the title of the U.S. Intelligence Community’s most senior analyst for this region of the world. At the time of Armstrong’s tenure at the CIA, the agency was accused of nonchalance toward anti-American political trends in Latin America and the emergence of an international communist network that includes not only the countries recently visited by Putin, but Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, El Salvador and Uruguay.

The governments of several of these countries have been directly implicated in the narcotics trafficking partly blamed for causing the flood of illegal aliens into the U.S.

Venezuela and Bolivia kicked the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) out of their countries, while Venezuelan General Hugo Carvajal was indicted by U.S. officials on charges of protecting drug shipments from the communist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Cuba is currently hosting “peace talks” between the FARC and the Colombian government, which could allow the terrorist group to emerge as a legitimate political party.

This continues a revolutionary policy that was documented in the 1990 book, Red Cocaine, by Joseph D. Douglass, Jr., a highly respected intelligence analyst. He had examined how flooding the U.S. with drugs has been a major objective of the Soviet Union and its satellites for decades.

Fulton Armstrong’s Boss John Kerry

Fulton Armstrong was Senior Advisor for Latin America at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, July 2008 to October 2011, and served under its chairman, then-Senator John Kerry (D-MA), now the U.S. Secretary of State.

Kerry served in the Vietnam War, only to turn against the war and stand accused of aiding the enemy when he ran for president in 2004. Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest-ranking defector from the former Soviet bloc, described Kerry as a dupe who parroted communist disinformation about the U.S. military effort to keep South Vietnam free from communism.

He was confirmed as Secretary of State in a vote of 94 to 3, with three Republicans—Sen. Ted Cruz (TX), Sen. John Cornyn (TX), and Sen. Jim Inhofe (OK)—voting against him.

Not selected to join Kerry at the State Department because of his controversial views and background, Armstrong is currently a research fellow at the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies at American University. He seems to spend some of his time advising the media on how to cover Cuba.

The ongoing AP series of articles on alleged “secret American political activity in Cuba under the Obama administration” refers to democracy-promotion programs mandated by Congress to foster citizen activism and political awareness on the communist-controlled island.

Frank Calzon, executive director of the Center for a Free Cuba, says, “The programs’ fundamental goal remains to break through the Castro regime’s control of information that isolates the Cuban people and keeps them in bondage.”

But the AP, using Armstrong as one of its sources, portrayed the programs as sinister.

Over the years Armstrong has earned the criticism of many dedicated to a free Cuba.

Cuban-born journalist Humberto Fontova said Armstrong was among a group of U.S. intelligence analysts who “were heavily influenced by a Castro spy and were parroting ‘intelligence estimates’ authored by this spy and planted by Castro.”

Montes was recruited by Marta Rita Velazquez, once a legal officer at the Agency for International Development. Velazquez, who introduced Montes to a Cuban intelligence officer posing as a Cuban diplomat at the United Nations, was charged with espionage in 2004 in an indictment that was only unsealed last year. She is believed to be living in Sweden and married to a Swedish government official.

Both Montes and Velazquez are natives of Puerto Rico, a U.S territory the Castro regime has always claimed was occupied by American imperialists, and which led to Cuban sponsorship of the FALN terrorist group. Montes was a staunch Catholic, perhaps of the liberation theology variety.

An FBI summary of the Montes case says she was the “top Cuban analyst” for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and “was known throughout the U.S. intelligence community for her expertise.” It said she “was leaking classified U.S. military information and deliberately distorting the government’s views on Cuba.”

The phrase “distorting the government’s views on Cuba” is a reference to her acting as an agent of influence.

After noting that he worked for the CIA and that Montes worked for the DIA, Armstrong told AIM, “As far as I am aware, not one of the dozens of IC [Intelligence Community] professionals with whom Montes interacted suspected she was a spy. We were all deeply shocked by her arrest.  After her arrest, a couple people claimed to have had suspicions—based apparently on their disagreement with her criticism of aspects of U.S. policy—but those individuals obviously failed to report their concerns and supporting evidence to their respective security officers.”

Suspicions About Montes

In fact, the FBI report says, “Her downfall began in 1996, when an astute DIA colleague—acting on a gut feeling—reported to a security official that he felt Montes might be under the influence of Cuban intelligence. The official interviewed her, but she admitted nothing.”

The report goes on: “The security officer filed the interview away until four years later, when he learned that the FBI was working to uncover an unidentified Cuban agent operating in Washington. He contacted the Bureau with his suspicions. After a careful review of the facts, the FBI opened an investigation.”

DIA counter-intelligence investigators involved in the case included Scott W. Carmichael, author of True Believer: Inside the Investigation and Capture of Ana Montes, Cuba’s Master Spy, and Chris S. Simmons, founder of the Cuba Confidential blog.

The Carmichael book says that Armstrong “was in frequent telephone and e-mail contact” with Montes and tried to get her placed at the National Intelligence Council (NIC), where she would have had “super access” to intelligence information. It says Armstrong tried to get her into the NIC by obtaining a waiver from a freeze on DIA analysts moving into other high-level positions. Montes was reportedly on “a first-name basis” with Armstrong.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton was so concerned about Armstrong that he had sought, in his previous role as an undersecretary of state, to have him reassigned. But many top CIA officials defended Armstrong.

The controversy over Armstrong’s involvement in the AP stories about democracy programs in Cuba comes as American aid worker Alan Gross remains a hostage in Cuba. He was taken prisoner by the Castro dictatorship in 2009 and sentenced to 15 years in prison on trumped up spying charges. Gross had been trying to facilitate citizen efforts to bypass the Cuban regime for news and information using the Internet. He is apparently being used as leverage and ransom for the release of remaining members of the “Cuban Five” spy apparatus in prison in the U.S.—and perhaps Montes herself.

On the charge that he worked with the AP to discredit the Cuba democracy programs, Armstrong said, “AP’s reports seem mostly based on documentary evidence provided by insiders concerned about the regime-change programs, as well as on interviews with many people in Washington, Miami, Cuba and Central America.”

But the Capitol Hill Cubans blog says, “Note each chapter in the collaboration is written by the same team of AP reporters and they all stem from information dating back to 2009-2011, while Armstrong was still at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.”

The AP team includes Desmond Butler, Jack Gillum, Alberto Arce and Andrea Rodriguez.

Armstrong confirmed that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee had investigated what he called “these scandalously run covert-action programs during my tenure on the Committee staff, and because my boss [Senator Kerry] was concerned enough to put a hold on the programs for a while, I was logically among the dozens of people to be called by the reporters.”

But he denies he helped “prepare” the stories.

Top Democrat Rejects Kerry Effort

At the time Senator Kerry temporarily stopped the programs, Democratic Senator Robert Menendez (NJ) said, “I respect Chairman Kerry’s right to disagree about U.S. policy toward Cuba, but firmly believe that we should be able to unite around a shared goal of supporting human rights activists, democracy activists, independent journalists and economists, and others struggling to create peaceful change in their country.”

Menendez is now chairman of the committee and was the subject of an alleged Cuban intelligence disinformation campaign using the conservative Daily Caller to discredit his reputation. Tucker Carlson, the editor-in-chief of the Daily Caller, rejects the charges.

Defending the substance of the AP allegations, Armstrong said there are “professionals” in the State Department, USAID and in their “partner” organizations “who have long been concerned about the nature, purpose, and lack of transparency with the programs.”

In response, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, issued a statement declaring, “That USAID is using measures to promote democracy in Cuba is no secret. We have to keep the pressure on the Castro regime and continue to support the Cuban people, who live under oppression every day.”

She said she would like to see the media devote more effort to covering human rights violations in Cuba by the Castro regime “rather than manipulate the coverage of programs promoting freedom of expression and justice.”

But it appears that the AP and its sources have other ideas.

“The Associated Press cannot be trusted when reporting on Cuba,” analyst Westerman concludes.